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Reality show would give 'Kinky' unfair advantage

Nov. 10, 2005

EDITORIAL STAFF

At midnight Wednesday and 12:30 a.m. today, the Country Music Television station broadcast a new reality show delving into the gubernatorial campaign of Richard "Kinky" Friedman.

The station showed two half-hour previews of the show, titled "Go Kinky." If the pilots are successful, CMT will start a reality series following his campaign in early 2006.

Friedman, an author and musician from Texas, is trying to get on the 2006 ballot for Texas governor as an independent.

To do that, he has to get 45,540 supporting signatures between March 8 and May 11.

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Ben Humeniuk | Lariat staff
"Go Kinky" will follow Friedman, portrayed as an anti-politician and a man of the people, as he attends Rotary Club lunches, visits barber shops and holds fundraisers to get the necessary number of signatures to run for governor.

By starring in a reality show, Friedman will have an unfair advantage over Republican contenders Gov. Rick Perry and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and former Democratic Congressman Chris Bell.

According to the equal opportunity provision of the Communications Act, candidates must have the opportunity to buy an equal amount of time if one candidate buys time or be given equal time if another candidate receives free airtime during their campaigns.

One candidate having a television series about his race for governor, though it is on a cable network, does not qualify as equal press for all candidates. It in no way lets the other candidates have an equal amount of on-air exposure.

In 2004, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs took his A-list rapper and actor status and used it to become a political activist.

Combs loudly backed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and enlisted help from other celebrities to push citizens to register to vote and vote down President George W. Bush.

His "Vote or Die" campaign gave Kerry more publicity and press without giving an equal amount of time to Bush and other candidates.

Friedman's star privilege is unfair and shouldn't be allowed unless Perry, Strayhorn and Bell get all their own television series, too.